Day At The Track

Review of Gloucester Park Friday night

06:33 PM 18 Aug 2013 NZST
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Mighty Flying Thomas and connections
Mighty Flying Thomas and connections
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Advancing years have not dimmed the brilliance of rising 11-year-old Sneakyn Down Under, who gave a typical powerful frontrunning performance to crush his rivals in the $35,000 Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Driven with supreme confidence by part-owner and trainer Darren Duffy, Sneakyn Down Under earned a reprieve from a proposed retirement when he stormed to victory by just over a length from Franco Renegade, rating 1.56.8 over the 2130m journey.

This ended a losing sequence of ten and boosted Sneakyn Down Under’s earnings to $421,364 from 25 wins and 16 placings from 82 starts. It was the gelding’s first success for eight months and his impressive return to form prompted Duffy to reconsider his retirement plans for the big, rangy New Zealand-bred gelding.

It was an historic victory, with Sneakyn Down Under maintaining his dominance in the Porter Memorial, a race he won in 2009 and 2012. No other pacer has won the group 3 event more than once since Pure Steel won the inaugural Porter Memorial in 1978.

Sneakyn Down Under, favourite at 2/1, began with his usual brilliance from barrier four and dashed past Shardons Rocket to take up the running after 120m. After covering the first 400m section of the final mile in 30.6sec., Sneakyn Down Under gave the opposition little chance of overhauling him as he sped over the final three quarters in 28.8sec., 28.3sec. and 28sec.

Franco Renegade (13/4) raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly to deprive Shardons Rocket of second place. Has The Answers raced four back on the pegs and ran home gamely to be fourth.

Sneakyn Down Under raced 11 times in New Zealand for two wins over 2700m as a three-year-old at Forbury before arriving in Western Australia. By American stallion Badlands Hanover, he is out of Sneaky Peak, the dam of Countess Kala, winner of the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in December 1999.


OHOKA ASSASSIN BOOSTS STABLE’S HOPES IN THE GOLDEN NUGGET

Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred three-year-old Ohoka Assassin emerged as an excellent second string runner for the powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable in the rich Golden Nugget Classic late this year when he gave a bold frontrunning display to win the 2536m Premier Suzuki Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Bonds have high hopes with Condrieu in the Golden Nugget, and Ohoka Assassin, fit now after being laid low by a leg problem earlier this year.

“Ohoka Assassin has had a few little hiccups along the way and he damaged a hock soon after arriving in WA,” said Greg Bond. “We haven’t probably seen the best of him yet and I’m hoping that he will measure up for the Nugget. He’s got more than his share of ability.”

Ohoka Assassin, favourite at 5/2 from the No. 1 barrier on the front line, was sent straight to the front by Ryan Warwick and he relished his pacemaking role. He sprinted over the final 800m in 56.9sec. and won by 1m from 4/1 third fancy Another Vinnie, who finished strongly from tenth in the middle stages and sixth at the bell.

Conniving Major Dave impressed at his Gloucester park debut in finishing boldly from eighth at the bell to be third, with Slick Chapel, second favourite at 11/4, a fighting fourth after working hard, three wide and then in the breeze. Rocky Marciano also lost few admirers when he sustained a strong finishing burst from the rear to finish fifth.

Ohoka Assassin won once from seven New Zealand starts and his two wins from seven WA appearances have taken his record to 14 starts for three wins, five placings and $30,575. His win came three nights after his four-year-old full-brother Ohoka Colorado was successful at Menangle to improve his record to nine wins, 13 placings and $74,725 from 42 starts.

Ohoka Assassin’s dam, the Falcon Seelster mare Millwood Krystal has also produced Ohoka Arizona (20 starts for eight wins, four placings and $273,498), Ohoka Samson (29 starts for 12 wins, eight placings and $91,164), Ohoka Detroit (28 starts for four wins, six placings and $14,845) and Millwood Manhattan (19 starts for three wins, three placings and $40,364).

Ohoka Arizona was an outstanding juvenile in New Zealand in 2007 when he finished well ahead of Im Themightyquinn in several races. His wins included a group 1 classic at Addington, two group 3 events and a win in the $200,000 Emerald for colts and geldings. He also finished a close second in the group 1 Sires Stakes at Addington.


UNSOCIABLE MIGHTY FLYING THOMAS BECOMES A GENTLEMAN

Mighty Flying Thomas is an unsociable gelding, generally unfriendly and ill-tempered and with a mind of his own. But he is a favourite at the Bickley stables of Peter Anderson because of his fierce determination, his tenacity and tremendous will-to-win.

He was at his cantankerous worst when Anderson took him to Narrogin for his Western Australian debut in July of last year. He simply refused to score up at two attempts and was withdrawn by the stewards.

Not amused at this punishment, Mighty Flying Thomas then dug his toes in and required a great deal of persuasion from reinsman Morgan Woodley to eventually leave the track and return to his stall in the birdcage. It was a long, wet and cold night for all concerned.

However, Mighty Flying Thomas has responded to Anderson’s patient care and Woodley’s skill in the sulky to develop into an almost perfect gentleman on the track, invariably getting away swiftly and racing with tremendous zest.

His speed, strength and wonderful fighting qualities have enabled him to become a shining light in his current campaign and he kept up his fine work with a notable triumph over 2/1 on favourite Pacific Warrior in the 2536m Nepean Conveyors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Mighty Flying Thomas, second fancy at 11/2, began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and after racing four wide in the early stages Woodley deftly manoeuvred the gelding into the one-out, one-back position as Showdownatmidnight worked his way past the polemarker I Am legend to take up the running after 300m. Woodley then seized the initiative, vacating the prime one-out, one-back spot after 500m and dashing Mighty Flying Thomas forward, three wide, before bursting to the front 150m later.

Woodley gave Mighty Flying Thomas a breather with a leisurely first 400m section of the final mile in 32.1sec. and then he increased the tempo, reeling off quarters in 28.9sec., 28.7sec. and 28.6sec. as he kept Pacific Warrior (in the breeze) at bay on the way to recording a splendid victory by just under a length, rating 1.58.7.

To maintain such a high speed and cover the final 1200m in 1min. 26.sec. was an outstanding effort by the five-year-old Mighty Flying Thomas. That time certainly compares favourably with the final 1200m in 1min. 25.1sec. recorded by open-class star Sneakyn Down Under when he won the Howard Porter Memorial, over the shorter 2130m journey later in the program.

Mighty Flying Thomas is undefeated at three attempts over 2536m at Gloucester Park. Not only is he a redoubtable stayer, but he is a very smart sprinter who is being set for the $10,000 Mount Eden Golden Mile over 1750m at Kalgoorlie on September 17.

Mighty Flying Thomas has had 13 starts in WA for six wins and three placings and his career record stands at 12 wins and ten placings for stakes of $87,213 from just 40 starts. While he is performing strongly, so, too, is his six-year-old half-sister Flying Pocketlands, who took her record to 21 wins, 29 placings and $442,423 from 90 starts when she won the listed classic, the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Mares Free-For-All at Ballarat on Saturday of last week.


IM ELSA ENDS LOSING RUN OF 20 AND GIVES ANDREWS A DOUBLE

New Zealand-bred mare Im Elsa bounced back to her best form and ended a losing sequence of 20 when she scored an impressive all-the-way victory in the 1730m Gannon’s Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

She started favourite at 7/4 and her win over Sovereign Grange (11/1) and Bettor Whitby (15/1) completed a training double for Wes Andrews, who was successful earlier in the night with It And A Bit.

Aiden de Campo got Im Elsa away speedily from barrier three and the six-year-old got past polemarker Siena Franco and into the lead after 200m. She set a solid pace and was never seriously threatened. She covered the final 800m in 58.3sec. and rated 1.57.1.

This took Im Elsa’s record to nine wins and 19 placings for stakes of $112,632 from 63 starts. A winner of four races in New Zealand, she has raced 32 times in WA for five wins and seven placings. At her third start in WA she won the group 3 $35,000 WA Mares Mile from Artemis Belle at Gloucester Park in December 2011.

By former star pacer Elsu, Im Elsa is out of Champagne Party, who won at 14 of her 40 starts and earned $152,445. Her wins included the group 2 Queen of the Pacific at Moonee Valley in June 2002. Champagne Party’s dam Bee Gee’s Dream produced star performers in Party Party (45 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and $251,236) and Another Party (149 starts for 31 wins, 42 placings and $888,678).


AIDEN de CAMPO BRINGS UP HIS CENTURY

Outstanding young Capel reinsman Aiden de Campo notched a century of winners in a season for the first time when he drove The Black Lord to victory in the 2100m Happy 50th Johnny Ryan Pace at Bunbury on Saturday night.

The Black Lord, trained by Chelsey Harding, was favourite at 6/4 and he surged home from sixth at the bell to win in fine style from Off The Chain.


BLACK PONTIAC RELISHES HIS FRONTRUNNING ROLE

Victorian-bred pacer Black Pontiac has struck a purple patch for Orange Grove trainer-reinsman Donald Harper and he notched his fifth win from his past 12 starts when he set the pace and held on grimly to defeat the fast-finishing Imtheguy by a head in the 1730m West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Harper made the most of the perfect No. 1 barrier and Black Pontiac set a fast pace, recording a slick rate of 1.55.3 after sprinting over the final 800m in 56.9sec.

Black Pontiac was second favourite at 9/4 and he defied the pressure applied by 11/8 favourite Real Hammer, who got his head in front at the bell, but was unable to forge to a clear lead. Imtheguy(6/1) enjoyed a perfect run behind the pacemaker before issuing a spirited late challenge. Lewis Hamilton (33/1) raced three back on the pegs and finished strongly to be third. Real Hammer wilted to finish fourth after working without cover throughout.

Black Pontiac, owned by Tara Sweet, had 11 starts in Victoria for five wins and three placings before arriving in WA where his 63 starts have produced ten wins and seven placings.

By Grinfromeartoear, Black Pontiac is the second foal out of Short And Black, who had 47 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and stakes of $53,619. Short And Black’s first foal Falcons legend is still racing in Queensland where he has earned $63,860 from 14 wins and 24 placings from 118 starts.

Short And Black is one of the nine winners out of Gaviston, a daughter of Gavigold, whose nine winners included No Damage (294 starts for 46 wins, 94 placings and $240,428) and Natures Fury (317 starts for 48 wins, 104 placings and $422,193).


BULLDOZER CONTINUES ON HIS MERRY WAY

Victorian-bred pacer Bulldozer, claimed for $9000 by Banjup trainer Annie Belton 13 months ago, is proving a wonderful bargain. The six-year-old maintained his sound form when he surged to the front after 300m, set a brisk pace and held on to score a narrow win in the 2130m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

A warm favourite at 5/4, Bulldozer had to be driven right out by Chris Lewis to hold on and beat Ohoka Samson (11/1) by a nose after a photo-finish malfunction left the judges to make a decision in a desperately close finish. The judges were unanimous in their declaration that Bulldozer had hung on by the barest possible margin.

Ohoka Samson started from the outside of the front line and Kade Howson restrained him back to last in the field of 11 before he dashed the gelding forward after 700m. Ohoka Samson moved outside the pacemaker at the 1100m mark and he sustained a spirited finishing effort to cross the line locked together with Bulldozer. Wrongly Accused (9/2) ran home solidly along the pegs to be a close third after trailing the pacemaker.

Bulldozer, a Courage Under Fire gelding, was acquired by Belton after contesting a claimer at Warragul in August of last year and he now has raced 21 times for his new owner for five wins and five placings for stakes of $57,521. His career record now stands at 99 starts for 15 wins, 28 placings and $118,677.

A half-brother to The Sentry, who earned $452,452 from 23 wins and 13 placings from 61 starts, Bulldozer looks set to continue to be a good moneyspinner.


KOTARE ASH CHARGES HOME FROM A “HOPELESS” POSITION

Kotare Ash, seemingly in a hopeless position when locked in on the pegs in sixth position 250m from home, was eased into the clear by Kaiden Hayter on the turn and sprinted brilliantly to get up and snatch a thrilling last-stride victory over Riverboat Ning in the 1730m Brear And Doonan Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Hayter, who was having his first drive behind the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old mare for Serpentine trainer Chris Brew, had her travelling well three back on the pegs all the way while polemarker and 5/4 on favourite Libra Belle was bowling along in front for Dean Miller.

Riverboat Ning (8/1) trailed the pacemaker and when Peter Tilbrook eased her off the pegs 225m from home, Hayter was able to get off the pegs and follow Niverboat Ning, who looked certain to win when she swept to the front 70m from the post. But Kotare Ash sprouted wings to overhaul Riverboat Ning right on the line.

Arch On Fire ran home gamely to be third, while Libra Belle wilted to fifth. Kotare Ash, a 17/1 tote chance, rated 1.57.3 and ended a losing sequence of 18 and improved her record to 42 starts for nine wins, nine placings and $85,047.

Kotare Ash’s victory was the beginning of a great weekend for Hayter, who landed a double at Bunbury on Saturday night. He was successful with the Brian Clemens-trained Asbo (5/2) in the Sky Channel Pace and 30 minutes later he drove his own nomination Pacific Playboy (20/1) to a fast-finishing victory over Tate Gully Gold in the GWN7 Handicap over 2500m.


KISS CHASEY ENDS A GOOD NIGHT FOR LEWIS

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis completed a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when 11/1 chance Kiss Chasey proved too strong for his 11 rivals in the final event, 2130m SEW-Eurodrive Westbred Pathway Pace.

Kiss Chasey, a five-year-old by Yankee Sensation trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri and owned by Lewis’s wife Debra, raced three wide early before charging to the front in the first circuit and then setting a solid pace, with Smooth Caesar working hard in the breeze.

Moonlight Rockhole finished strongly from eighth at the bell to be second, a length behind the winner, with the 7/4 on favourite Sparkling Seelster a fast-finishing and unlucky third. Sparkling Seelster lacked dash from the No. 1 barrier, with Loaded Aussie beginning speedily from barrier five to take up the early running.

Sparkling Seelster was hemmed in on the pegs in seventh position at the bell and did not obtain a clear passage until late in the race.

Kiss Chasey has been a good performer for Olivieri, with the gelding’s 25 starts producing seven wins, seven placings and $52,969 in prizemoney. Lewis was successful earlier in the night with Bulldozer in the Yes Loans Pace.

Kiss Chasey is out of former smart performer Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and $89,541. Hello Boys, a half-sister to former top-flight mare Party Date, is out of Boom Or Bust, a winner at eight of her 36 starts. Party Date earned $256,003 from 25 wins and 27 placings from 111 starts. Her victories included the 2004 Ladyship Cup at Moonee Valley and the 2005 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park.


IT AND A BIT GETS THE JOB DONE IN FINE STYLE

Victorian-bred pacer It And A Bit, related to 1990 WA Derby winner Pappy McCoy, showed that he should win more races for Brookdale trainer Wes Andrews when Ben Keiley drove him to a convincing all-the-way victory in the 2130m Del Basso Smallgoods Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

A heavily-supported 9/4 favourite, It And A Bit was smartest to begin from the No. 1 barrier and he won by one and a half lengths from Cup of Life (who trailed him throughout), with 40/1 chance Veitchy running into third place after racing three back on the pegs. Franco Hendrix, who raced four back on the pegs, rattled home along the inside from ninth at the 300m to be fourth. It And A Bit dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. and rated 1.57.7.

It And A Bit, a winner of nine races in Victoria, has had 28 starts in WA for four wins and seven placings. He is still eligible for metropolitan maiden events with a handy record of 13 wins and 39m placings for stakes of $88,202 from 107 starts.

It And A Bit’s maternal granddam Meagan Brooke produced talented South Australian pacer Pappy McCoy, who included the 1990 WA Derby among his 31 wins in a splendid 111-start career which netted $327,932 in prizemoney.


WHOS MISTAKE, CLAIMED FOR $8000, CONTINUES HIS WINNING WAYS

When Victorian horseman Geoff Webster outlaid $8000 to claim Whos Mistake at Melton in June 2012 he certainly did not predict that the Victorian-bred pacer would be such an outstanding moneyspinner.

Webster sent Whos Mistake to Western Australia to be prepared by ace trainer Gary Hall sen. But Whos Mistake managed just one third placing from his first seven starts for Hall before being sent for a spell.

Hall revitalised the gelding who resumed racing after a four-month absence with a runaway 11-length victory in moderate company in Albany last January.

At Gloucester Park on Friday night Whos Mistake maintained his splendid form with a narrow victory over Gday Mate in the 2503m Alltools Handicap. That took his record for Webster and Hall to 28 starts for six wins and ten placings for stakes of $82,735. His career record now stands at 114 starts for 16 wins, 23 placings and $122,600.

Whos Mistake started from the 10m mark and second fancy at 7/2 on Friday night and Gary Hall jun. got him away brilliantly, while the 5/4 on favourite Balleybofey galloped badly on the front line. Whos Mistake surged to the front after 280m and Hall rated him well in front before the seven-year-old sprinted over the final 400m in 28.3sec.

He held on doggedly to beat 20/1 chance Gday Mate by a nose, with Johnny Diamond a solid third after trailing the pacemaker. Balleybofey made up a great deal of ground and ran on along the inside from ninth on the home turn to finish fifth.

by Ken Casellas
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